SURGE testing is to be rolled out in Bolton after coronavirus infection rates soared,The Bolton News, has learned.

The borough continues to have second highest covid infection rate in the country after numbers of people testing positive for the virus soared and continue to increase — particularly in Rumworth, Daubill and Lever Edge areas.

This is the second time public health bosses will have carried out surge testing in Bolton.

Mass testing in a bid to contain the virus could get underway tomorrow subject to approval.

It comes as more cases of the Indian variant have been detected.

Three cases of the mutation were first discovered in Bolton in mid-April, with more detected in last Friday in the North West — of which a high proportion were Bolton residents.

Public health bosses say that detailed investigations are under way and more mobile testing units will be put in place along with a PCR test kit collection site.

The Moor Lane testing site is also said to play a key part in testing of variants.

Latest figures show that as of May 5, Bolton was one of the five areas to record one of the country's week-on-week rises.

The rate per 100,000 has increased from 47.6 to 82.8, with 238 new cases, in the seven days to April 24.

Surge testing was first carried out in Bolton at the end of March at Wingates Industrial Estate in Westhoughton after the discovery of the  South African variant in the borough.

This led to public health bosses working with NHS Test and Trace to carry out surge testing at the site to stay on top of cases.

Surge testing will again be targeted in certain areas.

The most dominant variant in Bolton remains the Kent Variant, which was first detected in the borough in December.

The Bolton News understands that the 'r' rate is 2.8.

The R number is a way of rating coronavirus or any disease's ability to spread.

R is the number of people that one infected person will pass on a virus to, on average.

If the R value is higher than one, then the number of cases keeps increasing.

But if the R number is lower the disease will eventually stop spreading.

Speaking earlier this week, Director of public health at Bolton Council, Dr Helen Lowey said: “We are aware of a recent increase in covid cases in the borough, and a plan is in place to help us understand the causes behind this and prevent further spread.

“It remains critically important that residents continue to follow the covid safety measures by washing their hands regularly, wearing a face covering, maintaining social distance and keeping areas well ventilated.”